The Hidden Power of Kindness
“Kindness is contagious .”
When I first picked up this title, I wondered how you could write a whole book on simply being kind, but in his profound book The Hidden Power of Kindness, Father Lawrence G. Lovasik goes far beyond superficial, feel-good advice to ‘smile and play nice’, taking a deep dive into the human heart and causing you to question your true motivations. These pages truly demonstrate how genuine kindness cannot be contrived and, more importantly, contained.
Who can honestly say that they are kind all the time? Do we always think, speak and behave as we would like to? This book with its pretty blue butterfly cover could be easily underestimated, but it not only exposes inner pride that we may not have even been aware of, but also challenges our ultimately selfish ways of thinking.
However, it’s not just a book designed to point the finger. The Hidden Power of Kindness takes you on a detailed and practical journey, looking at many Christian character virtues and how to apply them in real ways that will positively impact your relationships, starting with God and those closest to you, and ultimately your whole life.
In his easy-to-follow format, Lovasik breaks down kindness down into three main parts: ‘Develop a Kind Attitude’, ‘Learn to Speak Kindly’ and ‘Show Your Love in Kind Deeds’. While this may sound like an obvious message, the depth to which Lovasik dissects kindness as he breaks down every area of life, is astounding. He focuses on fixing internal problems rather than finding other people or external factors to blame.
While the slightly old-fashioned writing style can take a little while to get used to at first (Lovasik was born in 1913), Lovasik possesses a very earnest, sincere style of writing, communicating his honest passion for the bible and Catholicism from the foreword to the last paragraph. It is worth pushing through the first few pages, because once you get used to the writing style, there are some real gems to be discovered.
“Do all the good to others that circumstances allow … Lively interest in others makes you rise above the pettiness of self-love.”
The Hidden Power of Kindness is a great antidote to today’s self-love movement and keeps self-love in perspective, while focusing on two more important things that we as Catholics need to get right in our lives first: loving God and loving our neighbour. It offers a more healthy alternative to the self-love that manifests in self-obsession, careless of the feelings of others or how its actions impact the world around it and focuses with relentless frankness on how our thoughts, words and actions affect our relationship with God and others on a daily basis.
“The man who sets about making others better is wasting his time, unless he begins with himself.”
This book is an unflinching look at the inner life, and every person who takes its advice to heart will truly find themselves a changed person – more selfless, considerate, thoughtful, patient, forgiving and, most of all, kind. The message promotes endurance and will help any Catholic mature in their faith, no matter how long they’ve been a believer.
The advice is well-researched, neatly structured and scripturally sound, backed by many quotes from the bible, saints and respected theologians. Far from a ‘quick band aid fix’, this book deals first and foremost with internal character issues that we as humans face, so that as a result of these inner attitude changes, kindness will flow naturally from our hearts.
The text is aimed at more mature, advanced readers as the sophisticated language follows a bible commentary style and is perfect for the person looking to deepen and grow their faith.
The Hidden Power of Kindness is a great devotional book to read during quiet reflection time, or to work through with a Catholic book club or bible study and discuss. The discussion questions at the end also make it suitable to study within a Catholic secondary classroom.
Let’s end on this profound thought from St. James:
“In private, watch your thoughts; in the family, your temper; and in company, your tongue.”
Reviewed by: Lil van Wyngaard – Veritatis Publishing